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From the scorched rubble of Brazil's National Museum in Rio de Janeiro, scientists have recovered one of the museum's most prized possessions: the skull of Luzia, believed to be one of the oldest set of human remains in the Americas. Researchers recovered it last week from inside the metal case and metal cabinet where it was kept — broken and scarred, but in good enough shape to be reconstructed. “It was like a member of the family coming back to us,” says archeologist Claudia Carvalho, who is overseeing recovery efforts at the museum.
A famous meteorite called Angra dos Reis, dating back 4.5 billion years to the beginning of the solar system, was also recovered from a metal cabinet.
Finds - Scientists - Glimmer - Hope - Treasures
The two finds offer scientists a glimmer of hope that more treasures may be recovered from the remains of the museum, which was almost entirely destroyed by a fire on 2 September. A complete damage assessment and recovery operation is expected to begin next year, after the structural integrity of the building is secured. Scientists are allowed inside only briefly now, to accompany the construction teams that are reinforcing the walls and federal police offices who are still investigating the cause of the fire.
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“We are only collecting in places were they have to clear the ground to anchor the walls,” said museum director Alexander Kellner. The status of the paleontological collection, which contains several reference specimens of dinosaurs and pterosaurs-- Kellner’s specialty--is still undetermined. Some collections that were kept in adjacent buildings, such as plants, mammals and marine invertebrates, were not affected.
Years - Luzia - Skull - Team - Archeologists
Believed to be 11.5 thousand years old, Luzia's skull was discovered in 1975 by a team of French-Brazilian archeologists, in a cavern of Minas Gerais state, known as...
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